The recent articles on anger, conflict and reactivity have garnered more clicks than any topic I have ever written. I am not surprised.
When I was at College Hill Presbyterian we put on a series of teachings for Men early in the morning. One time I did three mornings on sex and a little later I taught on Anger. Guess which had the larger attendance?
I mentioned it to the guys and one wag replied, "We get a lot more anger than sex so we need to know how to deal with it better."
Reactivity and anger are not the same but when we carry around a lot of suppressed anger we are also reactive.
Scale of Reactivity
Perfect Peace -----------------------------------------Reactivity
The recent presidential election brought out a high degree of reactivity, much of it shrouded in anger. I do not remember any past election that caused people to be so touchy.
Each side seemed to use language and accusations about the other side that violated every teaching about respectful communication and freedom of speech. If we use the Cycle of Conflict with my Reactive Scale as measuring tools they would have both shown at least a level 8 on the Richter Scale of Earthquakes.
Both sides used language that attacked not just the policies of a candidate but also his and her character. And, it seems to be continuing after the election with as great or greater energy as during the campaign.
As Jesus said, "When we call people fools we will end up in hell" and the nature of our public discourse sure seems to be hellish right now. Is it possible to debate policies instead of devolving into raging attacks and name calling?
It will require some humility and that is in short supply.